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Showing posts from February, 2015

A List of (5e) Basic D&D Monsters by Type

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Because “why not?” (And because I don't have access to any Savage Worlds books.)

Also, some observations at the end.
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Aberration: Nothic, Spectator

Beast: Allosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Ape, Axe Beak, Baboon, Badger, Bat, Black Bear, Blood Hawk, Boar, Brown Bear, Camel, Cat, Constrictor Snake, Crab, Crocodile, Deer, Dire Wolf, Draft Horse, Eagle, Elephant, Elk, Flying Snake, Frog, Giant Ape, Giant Badger, Giant Bat, Giant Boar, Giant Centipede, Giant Constrictor Snake, Giant Crab, Giant Crocodile, Giant Eagle, Giant Elk, Giant Fire Beetle, Giant Frog, Giant Goat, Giant Hyena, Giant Lizard, Giant Octopus, Giant Owl, Giant Poisonous Snake, Giant Rat, Giant Scorpion, Giant Sea Horse, Giant Shark, Giant Spider, Giant Toad, Giant vulture, Giant Wasp, Giant Weasel, Giant Wolf Spider, Goat, Hawk, Hunter Shark, Hyena, Jackal, Killer Whale, Lion, Lizard, Mammoth, Mastiff, Mule, Octopus, Owl, Panther, Plesiosaurus, Poisonous Snake, Polar Bear, Pony, Pteranodon, Quipper, Rat, Raven, Reef Shark, R…

I'm Not Keen on Brooding Loners, Either

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I do not think that the brooding loner is as inherently flawed a character concept as the “crazy” or the comic relief character. It is entirely possible to play a brooding loner according to what we can call the Wolverine Principle: the character might say he’s a loner, but he’s actually a central member of the team (or teams).

In other words, brooding loners are fine as long as it’s a character affectation instead of a play style.

The worst player I ever gamed with loved playing brooding loners, and did so in deliberately disruptive ways. He asked me to run a D&D 3.5 campaign for him and his friends – my ex-girlfriend and her husband – and then chose to deliberately not interact with the other players. The first moments of the campaign were essentially me saying “You’ve all gathered outside the mysterious warehouse in Dock Ward…” and him interjecting “Not me! I’m crouching on a rooftop and nobody else knows where I am.”

I do not game with that person anymore. 

(Heck, I don’t ev…

I Do Not Like "Crazy" PCs

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My congratulations to any and all RPG campaigns where someone is playing a wacky “crazy” character or deliberate comic relief and all the players are having a good time. I salute you because my experience is that those types of characters don’t work, and I’ll tell you why.

First, though, let’s set some parameters. When I talk about “crazy” characters, I don’t mean characters with bizarre back stories or weird combinations of classes, races, and skills. I don’t have any problem with half-drow, half-dragon sorcerers from alternate futures who love to play the oboe. I don’t have any problem with steam-powered masseur-bots who know karate and practice ikebana. I don’t have any problem with wererat Halfling mushroom farmers. What I do have a problem with is grinning, giggling wannabe Jokers who try to turn every roleplaying encounter into a chance to freak out the NPCs.

Likewise, when I talk about comedy relief characters, I’m not urging players to stop cracking wise and dropping Monty Pytho…

Putting a Pin in a Weird Idea

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For all its faults, the classic AD&D 1st Edition Oriental Adventures was an honest attempt to take Asian fable and fantasy and fold them into Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, Kara-Tur – the setting developed out of Oriental Adventures – was a pretty straightforward expy of Asia (with two Chinas and two Japans). It’s actually a much more authentic Asian setting than Legend of the Five Rings. What if someone (like me) created a D&D setting that did the reverse? What if – instead of fitting an Asian fantasy setting into the D&D rules – you just fit D&D-style fantasy into an Asian setting?

What if such a setting just had elves instead of kitsune? Tieflings instead of oni? Halflings tending rice paddies and gnomes building karakuri? What if the imperial family were dragonborn descended from godlike ancient dragons?

What if “samurai” was just a spin on the noble background, and “onmyoji” was just a spin on sages? What if “ninja” was a background that any class could take?

What …

Savage Insider Supplemental: Frisco Freakout Pre-Gens

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The article "Auspicious Archetypes: The Badass" in Savage Insider Vol. 2 Issue 2 contains a groovy grindhouse adventure called "Frisco Freakout," in which I mention that the heroes are "an eclectic assembly of kung-fu masters, ex-Green Berets, and roller derby queens." It belatedly occured to me that I should have included some pre-gens that were exactly that.
Mitzi Comet, Princess of the Roller Derby Veteran Wild Card (40 XP) Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d8 Skills: Climbing d4, Driving d6, Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d4, Streetwise d6 Charisma: +2; Pace: 8 (16 in roller skates); Parry: 6; Toughness: 7 (1) Hindrances: Curious, Big Mouth, Rival* (Bad Bertha, the Roller Queen) Edges: Brawler, Bruiser, Extraction/Improved Extraction, Fleet-Footed, King of the Hill,* Steady Hands, Sweep  Gear: baseball bat (Str+d6), elbow and knee pads (Armor +1), roller skates, sports car Background…

Savage Insider Supplemental: Badass Equipment

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Now that Savage Insider Vol.2 Issue 2 is published, I’ve noticed a few lacunae in the articles I wrote. I hope to correct those over the next week, and I’ll begin by adding a few pieces of equipment to supplement my first article, “Auspicious Archetypes: The Badass.” "The Badass" introduced a charismatic action hero archetype inspired in no small part by  grindhouse action heroes like John Shaft and Cleopatra Jones. The article includes a grindhouse-style One Sheet called "Frisco Freakout," in which I casually mention muscle cars and roller skates without actually giving stats for either. Oops.   Muscle Car Acc/TS: 30/56    Toughness: 12 (3)    Crew: 1+1 (two-door) or 1+3 (four-door)    Cost: $20-60k Muscle cars are high-performance automobiles built to be sturdier and offer more passenger space than sports cars while achieving similar speeds. Famous examples include the Dodge Charger and Pontiac GTO. Roller Skates Cost: $50 Weight: 2 lbs if carried, N/A if worn.
Roller sk…

What's in Savage Insider Vol. 2 Issue 2?

If you're like me, then you flip through a book before you buy it -- especially if it's an anthology or magazine. Savage Insider Vol. 2 Issue 2 seems to be selling pretty well, but I wonder if there are some Savage Worlds fans out there who are wondering just what's in this issue.

Wonder no more! The articles contain:

Designer's Diary -- An interview with Michael Edwards about the... um... mythic setting Mythic. I've been curious about this slightly obscure Savage Setting, and this interview has increased my curiosity. (Dudes, I will totally do a review for a comp copy!)Game Prep: Characters with History -- Eric Lamoureaux gives us a random generator to help develop the back story of characters created at higher ranks.Auspicious Archetypes: The Badass -- The first of my three articles is a new Novice archetype based around playing a combat-oriented character with charisma. It includes numerous new Edges and Hindrances, as well as the grindhouse-inspired adventure &…

Buy More Stuff I Wrote!

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Savage Insider Vol. 2 Issue 2 is here! 
I'm ecstatic to see this become available. I believe I have multiple articles in it (I haven't read it yet; in fact, I'm only typing this because the cat woke me up in the middle of the night) but, in any case, I do know that the article listed on the cover is something I'm very proud of. Surveyed: Zhàndòu: City of Warriors is a wuxia mini-setting complete with evil sorcerers, fox-women, and monkey monks!
I'll update this later with a full list of all that's available in the issue, but for now please support me (and friends of the blog like Richard Woolcock) by buying Savage Insider: Taking Action at DriveThruRPG!


Belt of Transition (5e)

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So... I decided I wanted one of the NPCs in my new 5e campaign to have a girdle of masculinity/femininity.She's a tiefling cleric of Sharess who is also a festhall madam (which is not an unusual occupation for a cleric of Sharess) and has hired the party to escort her from Silverymoon to Waterdeep and back as she recruits workers and buys furnishings for a new festhall in Silverymoon. I thought it would be fun for her to be a potential romantic interest for anyone in the party, so it seemed like a good idea to give her a magic item that allowed her to switch sexes as needed.
I'm well-aware that the girdle was a cursed item back in the AD&D era -- switching the character's sex against their will and not allowing a change back without the intervention of a god -- but Blog of Holding had an awesome idea about allowing PCs to "tame" cursed items rather than simply discarding them after a removecurse spell. This seemed like a good way to redeem the girdle; I though…